Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wild World Wednesday ~ the Red Panda

We live in a wild world. Today we are visiting the high mountains of the Himalayas’ in Napal to take a look at the red panda. This little guy may share the same name as the giant panda bear, but he’s very different. Let’s see why…

I’m Not Black and White!

What’s black and white and read all over? A newspaper…or in this case, a red panda!

As the name implies, red panda’s are red in color with white and black markings on their face and body. They are a lot smaller than a “normal” panda bear, weighing in at only 7-14 pounds (3-6 kilos), about the size of a house cat. They have small pointy ears and a long bushy tail that measures about 18 inches long (46 cm). The red panda uses its ringed tail as a cozy wrap-around to help keep it warm from the chill of the night air. The red panda’s feet are also covered in fur (top and bottom) and they have semi-retractable claws and an “extra” thumb on each paw to help them grip.

Wild World Fact…
…the “thumb” on the red panda is actually an extended bone from it’s wrist area.

It’s Time to Eat

The red panda is most active from dusk to dawn and lives mostly in the trees. When it’s not sleeping it spends most of its time looking for and eating bamboo – about 13 hours a day! Even though the red panda prefers the young tender shoots of the bamboo plant, it will also eat fruit, berries, insects, bird eggs and blossoms.
Occasionally, it has even been known to indulge in acorns, certain fungi, seeds and small rodents.

Wild World Fact…
…over winter the red panda can lose up to 15 percent of its body weight

Panda Babies

Mom red panda will give birth to 1-4 babies in the spring. The cubs are covered in thick grey fur and their eyes and ears are closed. Mom will tend to her young in the nest for 90 days. Though the red panda babies are full grown at 12 months, they still hang around their mother until the next mating season.

Wild World Fact…
…young red panda’s start their own families at about 2 years of age.

For more information on the red panda, check out your local library, the Internet, a wildlife sanctuary or zoo.

Want to read more articles and fiction stories?  Check out knowonder ezine for kids.  We even have an app for that!


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